Valuing the trade chips: Cincinnati Reds
We get you, Reds fans. You must be frustrated. After several losing seasons, then an offseason full of trades that may have offered some hope of a turn towards a competitive season, you’re back in sell mode again this summer. And all while your best player, Joey Votto, is getting older and slowing down a bit. Sigh.
But it is what it is, and if you’re reasonable, you’ll look to sell some chips again for younger talent. All those rentals you acquired this past offseason? Okay, you took a shot, it didn’t work out, and now you can hit the reset button no worse for wear.
The good news is, you don’t need to restock your farm, because it’s already stocked – it’s one of the top systems. The bad news is, those trade chips aren’t worth much, relatively speaking, so you’re not going to get anything back that will significantly change that picture. Still, might as well get what you can get, right?
Let’s take a look: We’ve sorted the most likely Reds’ trade chips by median trade value, highest to lowest, and filtered out players whose availability is low (values in $Ms):
- Puig: 6.7
- Roark: 5.8
- Dietrich: 3.7
- DeSclafani: 3.6
- Hughes: 2.8
- Iglesias, Jose: 2.1
- Wood: -0.6
- Hernandez: -0.6
- Duke: -0.8
- Gennett: -1.2
At the top of the list is Yasiel Puig, who is in his walk year and, at times, can be electric. Problem is, you never quite know when those times are. He’s exciting and erratic. He’s off to an ugly start this year, but he could flip a switch tomorrow and go on a tear. He’s done that before. Interested trade partners will hope for that, but temper it with a cautious approach. It’s a plus that he comes with significant postseason experience, which adds to his value.
Tanner Roark helped solidify the rotation, but he’s also in his walk year, and off to a good start, so there’s value there as well. Contenders are always looking for starting pitchers, so he’ll be attractive as a second-tier option after guys like Madison Bumgarner, Marcus Stroman and perhaps Matthew Boyd come off the board.
Anthony DeSclafani is not a rental, but his service time clock is ticking and he’s never quite delivered on his promise. That mild upside may still attract some suitors, but there’s not much value left there.
Reliever Jared Hughes will attract interest, especially since he’s consistent, and comes with an extra year of control. David Hernandez has slightly negative value, so the Reds might have to package him with another asset and/or eat a small amount of the money he’s owed to get anything back for him.
Derek Dietrich has been a fascinating story this year, and could be an attractive asset as a platoon bat for a contender. The Reds were smart to sign him; his value has appreciated markedly since the offseason. Same goes for Jose Iglesias, although most contenders are set at SS, so there’s not much of a market for his skill set.
Aside from those players, there isn’t much left to sell. So let’s take a crack at some sample trades:
For Puig, not too many teams are looking for RH corner bats, but here’s one plausible scenario:
Reds get LHP Brailyn Marquez from the Cubs
The Cubs could use one extra bat in their lineup, and they’ll be hoping the move to a contender helps wake up Puig’s bat. Marquez is an intriguing arm with upside.
For Roark, a few teams could use an extra starter. Here’s one:
Eierman was an early second-round draft pick who many scouts pegged as a Top 10 talent the previous year, which speaks to his upside. Rivas’ main skill is plate recognition, as his walk rate is consistently high. There’s not much power there for a 1B, but hey, Max Muncy had a similar high-OBP profile and look what happened there.
One other thought is that, with the Astros recently losing Carlos Correa, they could be interested in Iglesias. So:
Reds get OF Ross Adolph from the Astros
Iglesias can help fill the Correa void competently, primarily with this defense. The Astros already have enough offense to get by, so anything else he contributes in that sense will be gravy.
Meanwhile: Given the sense of controversy that has emerged around Derek Dietrich, as well as his productiveness to the Reds and the fact that he has an extra year of control, we’re betting that he’s not traded this year.
So it’s not much, but Reds fans can still dream on the amount and quality of young talent in the farm system. The returns from this summer’s trade season won’t dramatically change that, but the future is bright nonetheless.